Thursday, April 10, 2008

What I'm reading


I'll start with a confession: last month I got a Kindle.

I'd wanted one since I first read about them last November, but we're not the type of people to ever get expensive first generation technical devices. Heck, we'd been married for more than a decade before we got rid of the rabbit ears and paid for basic cable.

But the reason I wanted a Kindle sort of necessitated getting one now: I need to lose weight. I get so bored walking on the treadmill that I can't manage to stay on it long enough to do myself any good.

I've tried audiobooks, but I don't get along so well with them. I've tried reading while walking, but my reading glasses slip down my nose and sometimes actually fall off; and if I'm walking slow enough to read I'm certainly not giving myself much of a cardio workout anyway. Self-defeatist that I am, I'm soon off the equipment and onto the sofa, finishing up whatever chapter I happen to be on in slothful fashion.

I had a suspicion that a reading device that would allow me to up the font would be precisely what I needed. I could put the device on the little shelf, walk at a brisk pace, and still be able to read, right? And with Amazon offering a 30-day trial period, I could send the Kindle back if it didn't work the way I'd hoped.

It works beautifully. Additional perk: by upping the font, I can now read in the car without getting motion sick.

I broke the Kindle in by first reading Firefly fanfic, Steven Brust's My Own Kind of Freedom. I moved on to Wives and Daughters, which Dorothy had recommended as the best Elizabeth Gaskell novel with which to start. I started George Eliot's Silas Marner over the weekend, but it's playing third fiddle at the moment to Tobias Wolff's story collection Our Story Begins and Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father.

In regular book format I'm reading T.H. White's The Once and Future King (all the talk about birds is making me want to read The Goshawk, which I picked up at ALA las summer) and Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. I'm reading Les Mis with the Into the Parisian Underworld group: please join us! It's go at your own speed. I've only finished the Fantine section while a few others appear to be halfway through.

les mis

25 comments:

Sylvia said...

You've been holding out on us!

SFP said...

But only because everyone thinks Kindles are evil!

Tricia said...

I don't think they're evil. I'm actually excited to read a review from someone who has one! It's definitely a purchase I'm considering.

Writing and Living said...

I didn't have the least interest in a Kindle, and there you go telling me that it works on the treadmill.

Amira said...

You can read in the car now? That might make it worth it for me.

SFP said...

Yes, I can read now without feeling nauseated. I don't quite understand why a larger font doesn't make me feel sick, but I sure wish I'd had something like this when I was a kid.

Staci, maybe you should try a Kindle for 30 days on your treadmill. . . :)

Tricia, if you have any questions, let me know. I've not done a lot with it yet except read books, but it's supposed to play mp3 files, audiobooks, and it connects to the internet as well. I'll probably try a newspaper subscription in a few weeks.

Alison Boon said...

I must have been under a rock. I'd never heard of a kindle. Off to google it. Hope you don't mind being tagged.

Diana said...

I am so jealous! I've embraced the concept of the Kindle 100% (although I'll wait 'til they're cheaper). I don't get the naysayers at all. No one is saying you have to get rid of physical books! What a boon to be able to carry a dozen books and countless periodicals and newspapers around in one small device.

I hadn't even thought of the treadmill angle, and I do have a treadmill...

SFP said...

Exactly. It's a niche product. Although there are a few overly enthusiastic owners in the Kindle threads at Amazon who would like to replace their entire libraries with Kindle versions most readers have no intention of taking things that far.

Tagged, Alison? I mst go see what for. .

stefanie said...

You are sneaky! I may have thought the Kindle was useless but hearing that you like it and have had a good experience with it makes me feel better about the little device. I am not going to run out and buy one, but I will no longer consider them bad.

Lezlie said...

I've been mulling over whether or not to buy one, just because I've been feeling a little guilty over all the paper used to make the books I have sitting around that I haven't read. :-) Thanks for your thoughts on it! Too bad Amazon is out of them at the moment. . .

Lezlie

Diana said...

Oh, and let's not forget the speed issue. I can't tell you how many customers come into the bookstore needing a certain book "today or not at all." Of course, we seldom have the right book. If we're talking about mere words/text, it's ridiculous in this day and age to be unable to have instant access. The Kindle is perfect for this!

(One thing that holds me back, in addition to the steep price, is the fact that I live in too remote an area to assume that I'll be able to use the wireless features. Cell phone coverage can be iffy here. I understand that one can download books onto it using a computer and cables instead of the wireless technology and I am almost positive that I'd have to do that. Still pretty cool, but not quite as cool as the wireless way.)

Diana said...

I usually read you in Bloglines but in clicking through to comment I have become quite waylaid with your Books Read list. Every single title is intriguing me!

Danielle said...

Okay, so maybe I thought they were sort of evil...no, actually I think that maybe they're not for me, but if it works for other readers--go for it! (as long as they don't ever get rid of books!). I hope when you ordered it you entered the store via someone's blog (I just discovered you get 10%!! for Kindles...I hope someone buys one via me!). And you already read THAT many (long!) books on it? It must work. I can walk fast enough to get my heart rate up and still hold a book, so it works for me, but the glasses thing would be annoying! And I'm glad I'm not the only one not already halfway through Les Miserables! I just finished the Fantine section this morning. Now on to Cosette. So maybe it is going to take longer than I anticipated...

Girl Detective said...

But I want to know, how WERE the books, especially the Brust and Gaskell?

Brust is a very nice, funny guy who writes good stories. I invited him to our place for dinner at a reading; he said yes! He said more people should offer authors free meals.

SFP said...

Oh, that's cool, Kristen. I wish I had the courage to do things like that. I'd heard of Brust but had never actually read anything by him before the Firefly story (I need to start reading SF again). He did a great job. And the Gaskell was great, too, although a tad bit long. I'm looking forward to reading North and South later this year.

Danielle, what do the ILL people think about the Kindle now? When you mentioned what your library intended to do with them, I wondered if they'd made a mistake. Unless I'm wrong (and I could be, I haven't read the instruction manual) users won't be able to photocopy articles from the Kindle, just read them on the screen. It makes more sense to me just to have the article emailed to the one who requested it instead of loading it onto the Kindle.

Diana, you will lose a bit of the cool factor if you can't download a new book on the spur of the moment while you're waiting in the grocery check-out line, but otherwise using the USB port on the computer works just as well.

Lezlie, I understand feeling guilty over all the paper in the unread books, but the Kindle carries its own guilt--you'll be buying a product made in China. We could all stick to library books, but then think of all the gas we use driving there. (We just can't win for losing.)

Stefanie, it's definitely not a useless device, but certainly not one that every reader needs. I do find it comforting to know devices like this ought to be around when I'm older and my eyes are even worse and I've inherited arthritis from my father's side of the family. I probably won't have to give up books the way my dad and his older sister did.

Dorothy W. said...

Cool that the Kindle has worked for the treadmill -- anything to make that workout easier! (I have a hard time with any exercise that doesn't move me forward, unless it's yoga.) I hope you enjoyed Wives and Daughters!

Robin said...

That is so cool to use the Kindle for the treadmill. I've been eyeing them with longing, and now I have a wonderful reason to plan for one! Enjoy!

Jill said...

I am *so* incredibly jealous. Do you know that I requested a reviewer's copy of the Kindle (for my dayjob) and still haven't gotten it? That's how hot this gadget is. I really am envious.

SFP said...

When did you put in the request, Jill? I had to wait five weeks to get mine.

Dorothy and Robin, if it weren't for the treadmill there would have been no way I could have justified getting one. Let's hope I stick with the exercise plan.

Adam Wilson said...

I don't know about the Kindle...I'm not neccessarily opposed to it...I just like having the book physically there.

I think it would be hard to pay $400 for one though. Can't decide if it is worth it or not.

Adam
Letters On Pages

SFP said...

Oh, Adam, if you can't think of a reason you'd want a Kindle, then it's definitely not something you should buy. Its price has definitely taken a big chunk out of my so-called book budget.

Katherine said...

Ooooh, a Kindle! I'm normally the kind of person who sticks to the old-fashioned thing, but I've been curious to try a Kinlde out for an hour or so. They're notoriously hard to get.

Wives and Daughters is a wonderful book!

Jeane said...

I keep viewing Kindles and like-devices with a mixture of repugnance and dismay, so I'm glad to hear someone's positive experience with one! I'm afraid I feel too negatively towards them yet.

SFP said...

I enjoyed Wives and Daughters immensely, Katherine. I'm looking forward to reading lots more by Gaskell.

Jeane, you probably have a good twenty years at least before your eyesight starts to go and the idea of a larger font becomes extremely attractive. At least by then the devices should be a lot more affordable!